Yesterday I took all my books off that one shelf that tilts dangerously over to one side, turned it around so it lent the other way, and then reshelved the books. This was exhausting. I hadn’t realized how many books I had on there! But now the bookshelf leans only a little bit to the left instead of a LOT, so, uh. That’s good? (I have no idea how to fix it. I can’t drill a thing into the wall to keep it locked into place. I must have just messed up the construction of it and now it’s impossibly messed up.)
Anyway, that bookshelf is almost entirely for my TBR books (I have more TBR books on other shelves), but I dedicated one shelf specifically for travel books. Looking at my collection, I have definite favorite genres, and also not a lot of recent publications. This is probably why when I think of myself traveling around the world I’m always in a 1930’s costume– because that’s the best time period to travel!
Here’s my shelf:
I’ve grouped them vaguely by genre. And because I’m kinda obsessed about this, let’s go over just which books are on that shelf! These are all nonfiction books, by the way. If I included fiction books where people traveled I’d need a whole other bookshelf!
Here’s where it gets wordy
Vacationland, U.S.A.. This is a really nifty book from 1970, published by the National Geographic Society. It’s basically a guide to various tourist-y vacation spots, like Williamsburg and various places in California. The best bits are of course the photos, though I also really like how it’s not just theme parks and tourist traps– it’s also about the people who live in the vacation spots. And it’s got maps in the back! Old maps. From the 1970s. Awesome!
Disneyland. Below Vacationland; it’s an old publication from the 70’s with really beautiful photographs and trivia and stuff. I think whoever owned Vacationland must have owned this one, too, because I got them at the same time in the same library book sale.
New York Now. Just a travel guide to New York I got for, like, $1. Pretty pictures!
An Eccentric Guide to the United States. Another book from the 1970s, this one has interesting stuff in it like “where to go to look for flying saucers.” Unfortunately the binding has gone completely FUBAR and the pages are falling out, but I only paid, like. $0.05 for it so I don’t mind much.
The Norton Book of Travel. A collection of travel stories from ancient times to around 1980, I think. It reminds me too much of the Norton anthologies I have to buy for my college classes, so I haven’t actually read it, but it’s nice to know it’s there.
Tales of a Female Nomad. One of my favorite travel narratives EVER, and the first book I ever bought when I moved to Albuquerque. I especially love it because the author’s an older woman traveling around on her own, and I think that’s really brave.
The Sea and the Jungle. I haven’t read this yet because the binding is so weird it makes it hard to keep open, but it’s about a dude who went on a cargo ship into the Amazon, so THAT’S exciting.
Sophisticated Traveler: Great Tours and Detours. Another collection of short stories I haven’t managed to read yet.
Round the World with Famous Authors. Ditto.
The Great Book of Exploration. Another collection! I love books about explorers, although I wish more of them featured female explorers.
South. I got this for my LibraryThing Secret Santa last Christmas. Yay secret Santa! If you don’t know who Ernest Shackleton is, he went way far into Antarctica in the early 20th century and awful stuff happened. More info.
Captain Cook and the South Pacific. Oh you MUST know Captain Cook! He “achieved the first European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands as well as the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand”!
Of Whales and Men. I’m not sure if technically this counts as a travel book, as it’s about whaling and a dude on a whaling ship, but it goes with the rest of my high seas books, so…
Gipsy Moth Circles the World. About a dude who sails solo around the world. I’ve actually got two copies of this, because one had been sitting on the table at about five consecutive library book sales and I felt bad for it, but it had a broken spine so I bought another copy with an intact spine and a jacket. But now I have two, and I only need one. Bugger.
Going Solo. I’m counting this as a travel memoir because he does talk a lot about traveling in it. Reviewed it here, by the way.
Miles from Nowhere. Another really excellent travel memoir! This one’s about a couple who bicycled around the world in two years (I think it was two years?).
Sailing Alone Around the World. Back in 1895, before everyone and their sister could do it.
The Mammoth Book of Sea Battles. Uh. Maybe this one doesn’t belong here– it’s mostly fiction, but again, it went with the other sea books.
Where to Travel by Freighter, Freighter Days, Around the World By Passenger-Carrying Freighter, Vagabond Voyaging. And here’s my absolute favorite mini-collection: books about traveling on freighters! These are all from the 1920s-1970s, and obviously out of date, but I just love them. They’re so cheerful, and they really make me want to go on a freighter once. (Unfortunately it’s now insanely expensive to go by freighter ANYWHERE.)
A Word or Two Before You Go. Travel tips from two old guys that remind me of those Victorian gentlemen with walrus mustaches. But it’s from the 1970s, and pretty hilarious, actually.
The Fearless Traveler. Travel tips from a young(ish) lady who knows a lot about traveling in modern times, although this one was written for the UK market and so slightly less elpful for me here in the US. But it’s got nice graphics.
The Railway Station, Railways of the USA. Two books about, um. Railways! The second book actually mentions the railway I used to live nearby in Maryland, so that’s pretty cool.
So there’s my collection. (I hope it wasn’t too boring.) See what’s missing? Guidebooks. Specifically modern ones– though I AM working on fixing that, now! It’s just that they’re so much more expensive than the ones I can get at the library book sale.
I would also like to read some more modern travel narratives, although I do have a somewhat embarrassing fondness for Victorian female travelers (Isabella L. Bird, for one). What are some good ones? Help?
Books read this week:
29. Death By Darjeeling – Laura Childs [rating: 3.5/5]
30. Crewel World – Monica Ferris [rating: 3.5/5]
31. Murder 101 – Maggie Barbieri [rating: 3/5]
32. Dying in Style – Elaine Vets [rating: 3/5]
33. Me & Death – Richard Scrimger [rating: 3.5/5]
34. The Godmother Tree – Ruth Wallace-Brodeur [rating: 4/5]
35. The Last Guru – Daniel M. Pinkwater [rating: 2/5]
You’ve Got Murder by Donna Andrews. It’s a cozy mystery with an A.I. as the detective, and it’s pretty good so far! I just wish the bits with the AI talking to herself wasn’t all in italics, because it’s a straing on the eyes.